Friday, 31 August 2018

Medieval HOTT

Gary and I played a couple of games of HOTT last night. People have brought along their medieval DBA/HOTT armies, so that was the theme for the evening. In both games I used my Peter Pig 'classic' Arthurian army.

For the first game, Gary fielded a generic medieval setup, with a Knight lord and a small retinue, and a ton of peasant Hordes.

Gary's mob defended a hill, and I charged. I would have been rude not to.

Arthur and his trusted companions took the position of honour on the right, supported by Merlin. Merlin had a couple of goes at scaring off Gary's giant, but failed.

In the centre the lesser knights ploughed into and through the peasants. There was much slaughter.

Lancelot faces the giant.

The peasants were scattered, but Gary's lord had a seemingly endless supply of them.

(I brought Gary to the brink of defeat, then had two really bad PIP rolls and couldn't finish him off. He countered with two brilliant PIP rolls and pretty much brought back all of the Hordes he'd lost.)

Killing peasants no longer seemed a viable way of crushing Gary's army, so Merlin stepped in and, supported by some knights, took down the Lord himself for the victory.

In the second game Gary's lord decided to field no peasants, more knights and ...

... subcontracted a dragon for aerial support.

The dragon came on early. I pushed forward with my army, hoping to put pressure on Gary and make him spend PIPs on things other than moving the dragon. Merlin sat this battle out, being replaced by Galahad the Paladin.

The dragon ate one lot of knights, gobbled up Galahad and then went after Arthur himself. Arthur was having nothing of it, and lopped off the dragon's head.

Arthur and his heroes pushed forward.

Gary's Lord was pushed back almost to his stronghold, but his lesser knights came rushing to his aid. Arthur's knights found themselves pressed on all sides.

Foot soldiers cut down an other group of Camelot's finest to give Gary the win.

This was a closer game than the first. We went into what was destined to be the last round of combats with both of us 2AP away from breaking. Gary took down one of my knights, but a final combat could have seen his Behemoth recoiled off the back of the board, which would have broken his army as well, and edged me ahead by 2AP for a narrow win. Sadly I didn't manage the recoil.

Peter and Dave played DBA, using double-sized medieval armies. They used Burgundians and French. Dave picked up a win based, it appears, on Peter's appalling PIP and combat rolls.

I do like a nice game of basic 24AP HOTT.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Thomas And The Death Race

We played Gaslands once again, last night. We had planned to try a non-race scenario, but with five players and one of them new to the game, we opted for the easy Race option again. However we played with the full sponsor rules, and Audience Votes as well.

Here's the starting grid.

I ran Thomas, sponsored by Scarlett Annie
Caesar ran the ram-car Dreamline and the buggy Rhapsody In Blue, sponsored by Slime.
John ran Til Death Do Us Part and a rocket-armed car the name of which escapes me, sponsored by Rutherford.
Jason ran three buggies: Please Don't Touch, Stay On These Roads and Devil In My Car, again sponsored by Slime.
Ed ran Georgia Lee and Miss Murder, sponsored by Idris.

I kept the run to Gate 1 fairly clear and as short a distance as possible, on the hope it would reduce some of the carnage before the race opened up. It didn't.

Thomas is a big vehicle, and made for an interesting start-grid, with people trying to avoid being near him.

And away we went! Miss Murder forged ahead with nitro, whilst some of the buggies ramped up the speed and roared away to the first gate. Thomas plodded doggedly forward, assuming that things would get out of his way or get crushed. Only John hung back, hoping to escape the rush and then come back from behind. He did take the opportunity to slice up Stay On These Roads with a chainsaw though; our first casualty.

Passing space was tight at the first gate. Thomas took the first shooting damage as Miss Murder crossed the line and activated its weapons.

Chaos ensued. Thomas sliced into Miss Murder ...

... but came under fire as Caesar and John's buggies crossed the line and got guns and flamethrowers into action. Thomas ended up riddled with bullets, and on fire. Meanwhile Dreamline smashed into Georgia Lee and destroyed it.

Finally Please Don't Touch entered the fray, piling in with its ferocious spikes and setting off a chain of collisions, wrecks and finally an explosion which saw Miss Murder, Dreamline and Thomas all eliminated.

But what's this? Thomas back again? Well, yes. The Audience Votes system allows a player to respawn one vehicle from their team if they have enough votes and if they have no remaining vehicles. It keeps players in the game until the end. So weakened, but defiant, Thomas's crew got him back into action.

Briefly, anyway. John's car came in from behind, pulled up under my rear deck and unloaded rockets into me, destroying Thomas again - a respawned vehicle only has half of its starting hits.

At this point John had to go home, so his vehicles pulled out. This left four of us in the game, and we'd all been totally eliminated, so were each running one, weakened, respawned vehicle. Thomas was a wreck (under repair, it has to be said), but Dreamline, Georgia Lee and Please Don't Touch were all making a run for the next gate.

This stage of the game saw some great high-speed driving. Caesar kept himself ahead of Please Don't Touch, but suffered from a hail of grenades and small-arms fire.

As the three cars passed Gate 2, Thomas plodded slowly back into action.

I reasoned that rather than try to catch up I was better off trying to engage the leader, so turned off course. By now the three other vehicles were past Gate 3 and were in a run to the finish. I got off a harpoon shot, which didn't achieve much ...

... but he buzzsaws and small-arms proved effective in destroying other vehicles.

"What fun!" said Thomas.

Unfortunately simply destroying other vehicles doesn't cut it, since they pick up enough Audience Votes to respawn almost immediately, so were straight back into the race. Ed got Georgia Lee back in action after a slicing from Thomas, and used a spectacular slide and skid to edge the car's nose over the finish line for the win.

The game was a lot of fun; I was especially pleased with how the terrain I am putting together looked in terms of adding character to the race. We didn't encounter too many rules issues, despite using a whole range of things for the first time. The Battlehammer perk proved popular and deadly - it adds a vehicles hazards to smash attacks, making reckless drivers into deadly rammers. I also found Boarding Party useful, since it allowed me to bring my considerable firepower to bear even after a collision - and Thomas is all about collisions.

Respawning does change the nature of races, since it's not hard to keep bringing a single vehicle back. This meant that it was quite hard to take down a race-leader, and in my case it made it impossible for me to really get into a winning position from behind; if I eliminated an opposing vehicle, by the time I'd negotiated the required gates it would have respawned and moved on from where I killed it. Much of this is down to my having a vehicle not best suited to a race, though, and the point of the respawn rule is to keep everyone in the game until the end, which it certainly achieved.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Gaslands Treasure Hunt

I played a game of Gaslands with Catherine this afternoon. I wanted to try out not only sponsors and perks but also the audience votes mechanism as well.

Catherine chose a Rutherford team - all missiles and rockets. I chose a team sponsored by the Warden - prison vehicles rigged for spectacular explosions.

It was also a chance for me to try out some terrain I'm working on made from precut balsa blocks, which I thought looked rather nice as concrete blocks arranged into walls. I need to base and paint them, but in principle they looked OK. I've modelled some as markers for gates and the start and finish lines for races; they have slots which allow billboards to be placed in them. For other types of games these could be used for advertising hoardings, so I made some adverts to go in them.

We played the Zombie bash scenario, which involves driving around 'collecting' zombies. In fact the 'zombies' are static, so could be represented by anything; bags of money, terrified pedestrians or whatever takes your fancy. I just used black counters. twenty of them.

I started off well, but on both turns one and two Catherine destroyed two of my three vehicles. My flamethrower car died on the starting line, whilst my ute managed one turn of movement before it to was blown to pieces. The cause? Heat-seeking missiles and some incredible damage rolls.

This left me with just a bike, against Catherine's two cars. However I was moving fast enough that her missiles couldn't catch me, and being nippier than her cars was able to match her in terms of collected tokens.

There was little direct combat. Catherine cleared up one side of the board and I kept well away from her. I did manage a high-speed run past her missile-car at one point, and lobbed a couple of Molotov cocktails at it, but they both missed. At one point I wiped out, and took a missile strike whilst I was motionless, but against the odds I survived. On my last hit though.

Catherine's cars drove slowly and carefully around, hoovering up victory points.

Honours were about even when I wiped out again. By this point Catherine had no missiles left, but she saw a chance to ram the bike.

I didn't stand a chance, and lost my third and final vehicle. However like all my vehicles it was rigged to put on a spectacular fireworks display when it went up. It exploded, damaging Catherine's car. I'd used audience votes earlier to put hazards on it, and the collision and explosion added more, causing it to wipe out and flip, taking more damage. The flip caused it to hit a wall. She ended up with only a couple of hull points left.

However by losing the like I lost a lot of my hard-won haul of counters. Although I would be able to use audience votes to respawn one of my vehicles on the next turn, Catherine was in a position to pick up a few more before then, and was almost certainly set to win. So I conceded the game to her.

We learned a few lessons about vehicle design from this game, and it was fun to use a bike for the first time; they're fragile but very mobile.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Really Useful Engine

A couple of years ago I saw some concept art for Fury Road which featured a vehicle that was basically a massive trans-continental diesel locomotive on road wheels. I loved the idea, but felt that for gaming purposes something more modest was required. I hunted around for suitable models (both commercial and 3D printable), and at some stage realised that some kind of model from a Thomas The Tank-Engine line would be a good starting point. From there it was a simple step; why not simply Mad Maxify an actual Thomas?

So I did. I found this model by 'agepbiz', which suited my needs perfectly since it was made up of numerous individual pieces. Rather than print off a single model and have to chop bits off, I could simply print the parts I needed. I rescaled it so it was more in keeping with the cars I use, and off I went.

This is the finished result.

After I printed the locomotive I wasn't quite sure where to go with it. I had various ideas floating around in my head, but I wasn't sure how to implement them. I found some monster-truck wheels and printed those, and then worked out how I wanted to fit them, but after that I stalled somewhat.

My first thought was that I wanted to add in a big diesel engine and exhausts, but my wife convinced me to keep it as a steam-engine. In the end I sketched out this:

The end result wasn't the same, but it was a good starting point.

I experimented with a few different figures for the crew, but last year I'd printed off some goblins (Dutchmogul designs, naturally) and decided to make use of them. They have a suitable wasteland mutant look I was going for. I ended up being inspired by the new weapons for Gaslands in Time Extended 2, specifically the harpoon, and based the armament around them. All of the weapons are scratchbuilt; that harpoon is the inside of a biro, for instance.

I used Blu-Tak to try different crew and weapon configurations until I settled on one I liked, and that gave me an indication of how much deck-space I'd have to fill up with assorted bits and pieces.

By the way, the deck and other metal-plating is made from the waste rafts (supports) from the 3D printing process.

One thing I'd 3D-printed a while ago was a frog in a uniform coat armed with a sword. In keeping with the wasteland mutant theme, he converted very nicely to a Fat Controller.

I considered making the whole thing rusty and grungy, with just a hint of the underlying Thomas paint-scheme, but went for the original look in the end. I found that Thomas's bright, cheery blue and red worked well surrounded by the scrap-metal decking and improvised armaments. I themed the buzz-saws to match, though. They're bits from a dollar-shop excavator, paired with some steampunk jewellery cogs, by the way.

A shot of the harpoon, The chain is a piece of jewellery as well. 

This shot shows how big it is compared to a car. I Machinas it would be the very largest vehicle size. In Gaslands it will be classed as a Heavy Truck (a new vehicle class coming in Time Extended 3).

A shot from above shows off the decks very nicely.

I made some smoke which can be fitted during games for extra bling. The funnel is hollow and the smoke is glued to a small piece of cocktail stick and simply slots in.

So here he is - the Really Useful Engine.

Here's the original assembled 3D prints, minus the roof. It was only whilst I was painting it that I realised that I'd put the rear buffer section on upside down. But you can't see it on the finished model.

And here he is with the plating added. 

I'm looking forward to giving him his first proper outing now.

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